Spices : health in the oven

Spices are really medicinal plants, with numerous virtues. So, why not combine the pleasure of your palate and your health by choosing spices according to your state of health ?

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a very ancient spice. It comes from the bark of a tree, the cinnamon tree, cultivated in Sri Lanka, China, Tonkin and Malaysia.

  1. Therapeutic Virtues : Cinnamon is invigorating. It fits people suffering from fatigue and convalescents. It helps one hold up in periods of intense effort. It increases the secretion of gastric juices, accelerating and improving digestion. Finally, cinnamon contains a powerful antibiotic, notably for the urinary tract.
  2. Use : Cinnamon is particularly adapted for desserts (apple tart, baked fruits, applesauce, rice pudding, flan…). It is also used in savory dishes from North Africa (pastilla, tadjin). Finally, added to spiced hot wine, it fights winter illnesses.

Cardamom

Found especially in Malabar and Sri Lanka, it is a hardy plant, similar to reeds, whose seeds have a strong aromatic flavor.

  1. Therapeutic virtues : This plant is a great friend of the intestine. Cardamom improves difficult digestion and bloating. The Indians add it to milk at breakfast to assure good digestion all day long. Also, it helps sweeten bad breath, which is often a result of intestinal laziness.
  2. Use : It adds a delicate flavor to cakes, cookies and biscuits, and to entremets such as custard. It goes well with honey, and one could add it to tea and coffee.

Cloves

Cloves are the dried buds of the clove tree, a bush cultivated on the island Reunion, in Zanzibar, Madagascar, and Seychelles…

  1. Therapeutic virtues : in the past, dentists would put a clove in the space of decayed teeth to relieve the pain and calm the inflammation due to infection. This is because the clove is both antiseptic and anesthetic. It contains an active chemical, eugenol, which excites the appetite and aids digestion.
  2. Use : we usually use it in sauerkraut, however, it can also be added to bouillons, soups, sauces, stews…a few cloves give a good flavor to black teas, herbal teas or even punch or sangria.

Nutmeg

We consume the nut, a little ball with an oval form. It is very hard, covered with a dark bark.

  1. Therapeutic virtues : It facilitates the digestion of overly fatty foods, and fights against aerophagia. It also helps people subject to seasickness to deal with rough journeys. Finally, it has been reputed for centuries to stimulate intellectual functions.
  2. Use : it must only be used in small doses, because its flavor is very strong. It works well with gratins and soufflés, and with potatoes, especially mashed. Finally, it accompanies white meats with sauce, such as veal stew, perfectly well.

Saffron

It is the most expensive substance in the world! One gram of saffron is more expensive than a gram of gold or diamonds. Luckily, it is used in very small quantities in cuisine. The filaments of saffron are the dried pistils of the crocus.

  1. Therapeutic virtues : It is a tonic, digestive, aphrodisiac, and a stimulant…It calms gastric pains and regularizes menstruation. In the past, it was recommended to brush the teeth of small children with honey mixed with saffron to help their first teeth to come out.
  2. Use : It works especially well with all forms of rice (paellas, risottos…). It is also put in tadjins, couscous… It works very well with fish and white meat.